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I kept running through Mother’s Day themes in my head yesterday, and never settling on just the right one.  I couldn’t put into words the description of how I felt yesterday, but I think I can now. Yesterday was perfect. Brooke Allen decided at the beginning of last week that we were going to have a picnic for our Mother’s Day lunch, and so we planned for that to happen at a nearby park.  My husband, however, surprised me with the picnic table I have been wanting for our backyard, and my mother surprised me with picnic table trimmings like a tablecloth, napkins, and placemats.  So we moved the picnic to the backyard. It was perfect.  I had been wanting that picnic table as a place to enjoy the big backyard that came with our tiny house.  I imagined sitting there over lunches and dinners while our kids played on the swing set and the dogs ran around.  My husband fulfilled my dream of that, and yesterday put it into practice. We gathered over a simple lunch of chicken salad and fruit and watched the kids run and play. I am blown away by my children every single day. I

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Hey friends! We are super close to 500 followers on Facebook, which is amazing. Really.  Truly.  Amazing. So I am going to do a giveaway when we get to 500!  WHAT??????? I am going to give away one of these AMAZING Bible study journals from Kristin Schmucker!  (Click on that link to see all of her beautiful Bible Study tools like Journaling Bibles, pens, and devotionals.) It’s a great tool for your personal study, with spaces for you to record what you’re learning from Scripture.  LOVE IT! The rules are simple: Make sure YOU like our Facebook page, if you haven’t already.  The link is over there.  ———–> Share THIS POST from our Facebook page to enter, and encourage YOUR friends to “like” All Things Held Together too! Also, make sure you turn on the notifications on the “liked” button on our Facebook homepage.  That way, you’ll see everything we post in your newsfeed! That’s it!  So easy!  When we reach 500 followers, we’ll do the giveaway! SHARE AWAY!

It’s no secret if you know me in person. I’m addicted to social media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat…I love it all.  Except Twitter.  Twitter is gross. I love it.  I actually get paid to be on social media as part of my real job.  It’s a great employment perk to have “social media manager” in your job description. But I can’t help but notice how people tend to strive for one major thing amidst their photos, their status updates, and their comments… Perfection. It breaks my heart to see women posting yet another selfie, or pinning yet another picture of the perfect house.  A painted image of her perfect family where her children never pee on things and her dogs never chew up legs of the furniture and her husband never comes home an hour later than he said he would.  A happy smiling photo that never lets on how much she struggles with depression or family issues.  An idea that if I can pretend I’m perfect, people will never know I’m not. And then it breaks a little more when the teenage girl comments on the celebrity’s photo, “Goals.”  Because we know nothing about that celebrity in her private life.  We only know what

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Easter was beautiful, but difficult this year. I didn’t put much thought into how I was going to approach Easter with Brooke Allen.  She knew the basics – Jesus died on the cross for our sins, which are the bad things we do, and he rose again “3 lays dater” (her little mind moves faster than her mouth sometimes).  We don’t put too much emphasis on the bunny – she did NOT want to sit in his lap, and I really only talked about the bunny on Saturday night when she helped me dye eggs, make a cake, and put their baskets out for the bunny to find. But on Wednesday night, everything blew up. When I got home from choir practice, Ben said Brooke Allen had been crying about dying on the cross, and she was scared.  That night, she woke up three times in a fit of nightmares.  It was exhausting, and it was frustrating.  I can only imagine how frustrating it was for her.  She was obviously seriously affected by the story of the cross during Clubhouse time on Wednesday night, and we realized just how sensitive her mind is (and have since made vows to watch

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Dear Brooke Allen, I cannot believe you are four. I understand the concept of time, and I totally understand how you are four.  But it seems to me that so much has happened in your little life that it seems much longer than four and much shorter, all at the same time. Time passes differently when you are looking at the life of your children. You are a giant ball of sunshine and emotion and willful determination. That willful determination has gotten you in trouble a lot recently.  You are a little too smart for your own good, and you struggle a lot with following directions. You very much want to do things the way you want to do them.  You want to wear this dress, or use this bathroom, or watch this show.  You most certainly did not want to clean up the Pop-Tart, and you most certainly did want to run through the parking lot at school like an escaped convict, taking two friends with you. We butt heads a lot.  Your Daddy says it’s because you’re just like me, so I know exactly what you’re thinking and what motivates you to do certain things.  I know this is

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I don’t like to be out of control. Its the main reason I hate flying. In a car, boat, or train, you can bail out. When you’re flying, there’s no exit. You’re at someone else’s mercy, with nothing but a floating piece of foam that is smaller than it really should be between you and the wide open see while you try to get away from burning debris. As you can see, I really wouldn’t survive a plane crash well. I don’t like to be out of control. I guess that’s why I burst into tears when the nurse took JP from me this morning to take him back to remove his adenoids and place his tubes. Because he was in someone else’s arms. Not mine. For the next 30-45 minutes, he’s at the mercy of the hands of professionals who have done this same surgery hundreds of times. Luckily, his surgeon is a good friend who is the only person I would ever let touch my baby. I have full trust in him. He even told the nurse to tell me hello when she called to tell me they had gotten him to sleep But me, I’m a wreck.

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I haven’t been in the mood to write lately, and that’s hard for me. I’m so used to having ideas swirling around in my head.  Plots, storylines, conversations, creatives, arguments…It’s usually all up there, begging to get out. But lately…nothing. It’s just blank. I’ve never had writer’s block this bad before. I mean, really, I’m so desperate to write that I’m writing about my writer’s block. Who does that? I guess I should say that my head really isn’t blank.  There’s a lot going on up there.  Maybe it’s just not what I’m used to. There are thoughts about paying bills, and my next thing on my to-do list at work, and design for the marketing piece I have been working on for weeks, and what song I’m going to teach the 4 year olds, and how to make it compatible to the 2 year olds, and there’s wondering if Brooke Allen calmed down immediately after I left her at daycare, or if she took a few minutes to cry it out with her teacher, and there’s worries about JPs impending ear tubes and if he (mostly I) will be ok during and after the surgery, and there’s remembering what I was doing before

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I was flipping through some pictures on Facebook today, looking for a certain one. I came across this picture of my princess Rapunzel on Halloween night after trick-or-treating.  I’ve always seen this picture for what it is.  She was digging into her candy and spinning around the living room, talking about how everyone loved her beautiful dress and that people really thought she was Rapunzel.  It was late.  Too late, definitely, for eating candy.  Baby brother was in bed and she and I were sharing candy and pretending and laughing, like you would expect from any other sugar high. She was gorgeous.  Oh so gorgeous.  I soaked up those few minutes of her little life as she laid in the floor right afterwards, giggling and begging me to tickle her. She wore her Converse tennis shoes with her princess gown.  She placed her crown on my head and tried so hard to get just one more package of Smarties before I carted her off to bed. But as I relived this moment today, I noticed one thing in the picture that I hadn’t before: the boots in the corner. This pair of boots isn’t his normal pair – he wears

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I said I wouldn’t do this.  I told myself I wouldn’t give the trolls the advantage.  I blamed it on their lack of reading comprehension ability. But I just can’t have my marriage called into question anymore. My marriage is fine.  Just fine.  Intact.  Solid, even. Next weekend, we will celebrate seven years of marriage.  Seven years, two kids, a dog, several career changes, another several moves, lots of tears, and a whole lot of laughter.  We have had countless arguments, followed by countless make up sessions.  We have said, “I love you” an infinite number of times, and shared plenty of kisses. I love my husband.  I love him even more now. I am not a marriage expert.  If you are reading my blog with some expectation of finding 10 Ways To Stay Married To Your Husband, I am not that blog.  Instead, who I am is someone real.  Someone who has experienced it. I am thankful for my marriage and my sweet husband of 7 years.  Because there was a time when it almost ceased to exist. I won’t go into those details here, because that’s a different story.  But what I will tell you (ahem, trolls who have

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Now that we are coming down off the viral train, I have found some interesting things to be true. The first thing is a lot of people are really scared to say what they feel. I, for one, am not, which is clearly shown in this blog. But some people are, and so they send me private messages about how my writing has influenced them in a certain way or pull me aside in person to tell me. This is absolutely fine, and so encouraging to hear that my words are making a difference for people. The second thing, and more important thing, is some people are absolutely not afraid to say what they think. There is something about the internet that empowers people to be real jerks. I’ve got a pretty high self esteem, and it takes a lot to bring me down. Really. I think I take criticism well (unless you’re my mother) and it’s pretty hard for me to take offense to things. I’ve been the butt of the joke many, many times and I usually allow things to roll off my back. This may be why I am comfortable with being so honest here on my

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